No more crisis, yet the reforms continue
Slovenia’s recovery from the recession and crisis could be described as exemplary. This recovery is also the reason why Financial Times’ magazine The Banker named Slovenian financial minister Dušan Mramor as the European Financial Minister of the year 2016. "Slovenia has managed to emerge from a deep financial crisis in just two years with a determined and smart economic policy. " commented the government in a press release in early 2016. According to the first audit, the general government deficit for 2015 was estimated at 2.9 percent of GDP, within the 3 percent limit set by the European Stability and Growth Pact. In 2014 the deficit was still above the limit at 5 percent of GDP, whereas in 2013 it stood at a whooping 15 percent. In the next two years the deficit is planned at 2.2 and 1.7 percent. The government continues with the reform process and aims to achieve a structural fiscal balance by 2020. The main focus in the mid-term period will be on structural measures like restructuring the public tax burden, reducing the administrative burden as well as improving the efficiency of public tax collection.
Economy continue to grow, unemployment rate drops below the EU average
The government's think tank IMAD - The Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development of the Republic of Slovenia – published its spring forecast in late March. According to IMAD Slovenian economy will grow this year by 1.7 percent and by 2.4 percent in 2017. The report states that »economic trends will be impacted particularly by the relatively moderate growth of foreign demand, significant changes in the dynamics of investment growth after the expiry of access to EU funds under the previous financial perspective, and a further strengthening of private consumption”. Slowdown of government investment and significant changes in the access to EU funds under the new financial perspective will however negatively impact this year’s economic growth.The report also stresses that export companies will maintain their competitive position, which has improved notably in the last three years. Residential construction is expected to pick up this year after years of decline. Household consumption will be boosted by the positive labor market developments. Unemployment started to decrease by the end of 2013 and this positive trend is expected to also continue this year. Seasonally adjusted unemployment figures published by Eurostat in late April showed that the unemployment rate in Slovenia had fallen to 8.1 percent. That is below the EU28 average (8.8 percent).
Novartis continues with the investments in R&D facilities in Slovenia
In January Lek pharmaceutical company officially opened a new laboratory for the development of final dosage form for biosimilars, quality control and biopharmaceuticals technical development in its Biopharmaceuticals Mengeš plant. Biosimilars are one of the fastest growing segments of pharmaceutical products, as they offer better access to healthcare and new options for treatment of a number of complex diseases. Lek is a part of Sandoz, a generic drug producer within the Novartis group. »We have exceptionally strong biotechnology talent in Slovenia involved in almost every aspect of biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing,” said Carol Lynch, Global Head of Biopharmaceuticals and Oncology Injectables at Sandoz at the opening of the new facilities. The laboratory in Mengeš employs 350 people - 34 percent hold a master’s degree or a doctorate in science. Novartis has invested 10 million Euros into the new laboratory. The group's total investment in Biopharmaceutical Mengeš has so far exceeded 64 million euros.
Pipistrel strenghtens its presence in the Chinese market
In April representatives from Slovenia and China signed two agreements in Ljubljana, which aim is to further strengthen cooperation in the field of aviation. These agreements are crucial in terms of exporting Slovenian ultralight planes to China. The global leader in ultralight planes, Slovenian company Pipistrel, has been present on the Chinese market since 2008 and has become the leading seller of gliders on Chinese markets, according to the company’s Chinese representative dealer Danny Wu. The new agreement would allow Pipistrel to enter the fast growing ultralight plane market. The company plans to also set up a new factory in China, which would allow the sale of up to 1000 units of ultralight aircraft to the Chinese market.